MOUNT VERNON - If NCAA Division III football followers didn't take Cornell seriously after a 3-0 start, they might want to take a quick glance at the Rams now.
Cornell knocked off Simpson 16-14 on Saturday at Mount Vernon. Simpson and Cornell entered the game as two of the three undefeated teams in the Iowa Conference.
The Rams led the entire game and have yet to trail this season. Sparkplug quarterback Chris Lovely opened the game with a 24-yard run and finished with 163 yards on 35 carries and a touchdown.
Cornell marched up field on its opening 7-play, 74-yard drive and took a 7-0 lead on Dan McHugh's 4-yard TD run. Marc Myers added the PAT. The Storm knotted the score at 7 when former Newell-Fonda prep Mike Tiedeman sprinted in from 36 yards. Brett Majors added the extra point. Tiedeman, who was filling in for injured Collin Freeburg, rushed for 94 yards on 21 tries.
The Rams took the lead for good on a 23-yard field goal from Myers in the second period and extended their lead to 16-7 in the third on a 15-yard run by Lovely.
Simpson made a final surge with just over 3 minutes remaining. Faced with second-and-10 from the Cornell 28, Storm quarterback Mike Donnenwerth avoided a sack, scrambled and found a wide open Jesse Von Behren in the end zone, cutting Cornell's lead to two points.
Simpson still had all three timeouts, but was forced to burn them after Lovely raced 7 yards on a third-and-5. Cornell took a knee three times and improved to 4-0 for the first time 1992. That season the Rams finished a perfect 10-0 campaign.
Cornell fullback Jeremy Frans bulled his way to 81 yards on 16 carries. Matt Ditch caught four passes for 78 yards.
For Simpson, Donnenwerth completed 12 of 24 for 152 yards and a touchdown.
He did not start the game because of a sore knee. Von Behren caught 5 passes for 95 yards and Ryan Grinstead hauled in 5 passes for 49.
Tyler Freeburg led the Storm with 14 tackles and a sack. Cornell's Chet Knake was in on 13 stops and John Crane had 11 tackles with three pass break-ups.
Cornell will search for its fifth straight win this Saturday at home against Luther while Simpson hosts Central.